Pratos no Forno


A cookbook for oven baked dishes.

A cookbook for oven baked dishes.


(door opening, Pai and Hank tumble in from grocery shopping)

Me: Howdy, boys.

Hank: (shopping bags banging against his legs) MOM, you cannot come into the kitchen because we have a surprise and we need to get it ready for you.

Me: Oh, thank you, but I have a story I am DYING to tell.

Pai: Tell the story from the hallway.

Hank: Yah, just no peeking at what we’re doing.

Me: Roger that. So, while you were out our friendly, well-meaning Circulo de Leitores guy (door-to-door book salesman) came and he hands me a book and says, “Para te (for you),” and I didn’t order any books so I hand it back to him thinking he has the wrong house, but then I see [Pai’s Name] on the receipt.

Pai: Yah, I…

Me: Wait, don’t ruin my punch line. So, I say, “Ah, meu marido deve ter comprado esta série. Vou pegar o dinheiro. (My husband must have bought this series. I will go get the money).” But then he says, “Maravilhosa, uma surpresa para te. Vai receber um por mês. Esta série é uma das nossas mais vendidas (Wonderful, a surprise gift for you. YOU will get one a month. This series is one of our best selling).” And then I realize he is saying this because you bought a cookbook.

Pai: Guilty. Tell me, did you murder our poor Circulo de Leitores guy? Is there a body I need to dispose of because you are too arthritic?

Me: No, it’s not his fault he isn’t awake to the changes in the world. I reminded him, “Senhor, tu sabes, eu não leio os portugueses bem. Eu entendo e eu falo melhor do que eu leio. Meu marido não comprou esta série para mim, ele comprou para ele mesmo e tecnicamente, eu estou pagando por ele, então eu estou comprando um livro de receitas para o meu marido, que ele deve usar para cozinhar para mim (Sir, as you know I don’t read Portuguese well. I understand and I speak it better than I read. My husband did not buy this series for me, he bought it for himself and technically I am paying you for him so I am buying a cookbook for my husband which he shall use to cook for me.).”

Pai: What did he say?

Me: His eyes were as big as saucers.

Pai: I can almost feel what you said next. Did you…

Me: (interrupting) So I said, “Talvez-tu devesse comprar esta série para cozinhar para sua esposa, pois é das suas mais vendidas (Maybe YOU should buy this series and cook for your wife since it is one of your bestselling).”

Pai: I knew it! What did he say?

Me: His eyes were as big as dinner plates and he laughed.

Pai: As if a man cooking for his wife was the funniest thing he had ever heard?

Me: Exactly.

Hank: Wait, I don’t get it. What is wrong with a man buying a cookbook? I love cookbooks. I love cooking and I will be a man. Ricardo cooks for Ana.  Papa cooks for us. What is the big deal about papa buying cookbooks?

Pai: You and I are the reason the antiquated ideas of gender and who should do what will end.

Hank: Sure… Okay. (quickly changing gears) Mom, you can come in now, your surprise is ready.

Me: (entering the kitchen carrying Pai’s new cookbook, sarcastically) You mean I get two surprises in one night? One patriarchal and the other…

Hank: NACHOS with guacamole!

Me: (eyes as big as dinner plates) SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!

Hank: We figured after having a sick day all day from your medicine you could use something special.

Pai: (from behind the open pages of his new cookbook) Hank figured. This was his idea and he made your nachos.

Me: These looks amazing, Hank, thank you. Shall we share them?

Pai: I’m good. You two go. I am going to make dinner. We have all the ingredients to make dish 56: Masa Gratinada com Espinafres e Ricotta (Baked Stuffed Shells with Spanich and Ricotta).

Me: Yum!

Pai: Go on, now! Get out of my kitchen!

Hank: (carrying our nacho’s out of the kitchen on a tray) Thanks, papa! Let me know if you need help.

Pai: Will do.

Me: (beaming)